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Bronx Film Festival to Feature Documentaries on Beatboxing, Street Art

By Eddie Small | January 18, 2016 2:33pm
"GRAFSTRACT" is one of the documentaries that will screen at this year's Bronx International Film Festival.
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Dan Perez

BEDFORD PARK — This year's Bronx International Film Festival will feature documentaries on topics ranging from street art to medical care, as well as shorts about songwriting, fights and revolution.

Although program director Hector Olivieri stressed that it's an international film festival — featuring works from places like France, Australia and Canada — he still tries to make sure that at least some of the films focus on The Bronx or are created by filmmakers from the borough.

"Sometimes these filmmakers have a harder time getting into other festivals," Olivieri said, "So I always try to include them."

Bronx films this year include "Write With Me...," a short film by Bronx-based writer Hannah Leshaw about a woman who wants a songwriting partner but is afraid of how vulnerable the creative process will make her.

Another is "GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance," a short documentary about J. "SinXero" Beltran's attempt to beautify The Bronx through his TAG Public Arts Project.

Dan Perez, director of "GRAFSTRACT," said he was mainly interested in the subject as a way to explore the city's move away from graffiti and toward other types of outdoor art.

"I wanted to explore that transition a bit, because graffiti is kind of being phased out and street art is taking a hold," he said.

Bronx filmmaker Bryan Christian's short "Like A Boss" will be included in the 2016 festival as well, which focuses on a man who tries to protect innocent people from thugs but keeps getting beaten up until his girlfriend steps in.


Check out the Like A Boss trailer

Posted by Like a Boss on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A festival pass for all screenings costs $30, while daily passes cost $7.

On Jan. 23, the festival will screen a documentary called "The Surgery Ship" about a ship of doctors and nurses traveling to provide medical treatment for poor communities in West Africa, and all ticket sales from that day will go to the ship.

This festival is in its 12th year and will take place in the Studio Theatre at Lehman College from Jan. 22 to 31, although no films are scheduled for Jan. 25.

The event will feature about 70 different shorts, features and documentaries overall and is set to triple in length this year, lasting for nine days instead of three.

Olivieri said the extra days are mainly due to the amount of quality films he received this year.

"What usually happens is I'll get about one or two — maybe, if I’m lucky, three — great feature films. Feature films are usually about 90 minutes," he said. "This year, I got way more than that, so I didn't want to turn people away."

Interest in the film festival has also drastically increased from its inception, with submissions going from about 60 to about 600, according to Olivieri.

He maintained that there was a huge pool of talent in The Bronx when it comes to the film industry, and he viewed the festival as a way to show it off.

"It's just an untapped resource, and that's one of the points," he said. "One of the reasons why we wanted to start this film festival is it’s just this sort of display of the great talent that The Bronx has."